UPDATE: Marletta’s resentencing hearing has been rescheduled for 2PM on December 15 in Judge Falcetano’s courtroom.
Toni Ann Marletta, the woman who struck and killed 15 year old Marissa Procopio of Atlantic Highlands on Route 36 in Leonardo on July 7, 2015 and left the scene, will be resentenced for the crimes she pleaded guilty to on December 15.
A two-judge panel of the Court’s Appellate Division vacated Marletta’s 7 year sentence for Leaving the Scene of a Fatal Accident and 4 year sentence for Endangering the Welfare of a Child on October 25, according to a report published by The Monmouth Journal. The Appellate Court ruled that the Trial Court shall not consider one of the aggravating factors of the case and shall consider two mitigating factors in the resentencing. The Order did not explain those factors or the reasons for overturning the original sentence because the case is sealed.
Marletta has been incarcerated since December 2, 2016. She is eligible for parole under the original sentence on May 30, 2018.
“I’m outraged that a woman who took my child who had at least 70 more years is even trying to be released after a year in jail,” Marissa’s mother, Danielle, said in a statement to MMM. “It’s unjust to even consider giving this animal any lesser of a sentence then she was already gifted with for leaving the scene and leaving my daughter there to die. She has shown she is inhumane and looking to be rewarded for this behavior a year later????? How is this possible?”
In her allocution when pleading guilty under an agreement with the prosecution on September 16, 2016, Marletta said that she fled the scene of the accident because she had let her insurance lapse two months earlier. She admitted asking the children, her daughter and two others, who were passengers in the car not to talk about the accident until she figured out what she was going to do about it.
Marletta pleaded guilty to Leaving the Scene of a Motor Vehicle Accident that resulted in a Death and to two counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Child before Superior Court Judge Ronald Reisner in Freehold. Under a plea agreement, the prosecution is recommended a sentence of 7 years for Leaving the Scene and 4 years for Endangering—to be served concurrently. Marletta will also face fines and a license suspension for motor vehicle infractions including having no insurance when she is released from prison.
Reisner has since retired. Judge Vincent N. Falcetano Jr. is schedule to resentence Marletta on December 15 at 10:30 a.m.
Marletta was arrested on July 15 last year, one week after Procopio was struck and killed. She was charged at the time with Leaving the Scene of a Motor Vehicle Accident, Failing to Report a Motor Vehicle Accident, No Insurance, Unsafe Tires and Leaving the Scene of a Fatal Motor Vehicle Accident. She was incarcerated in the Monmouth County Correctional Institution on $150,000 bail with no 10% option, as set by Judge Honora O’Brien-Kilgallen. Marletta was released from MCCI on August 4 after Judge Francis Vernoia allowed her to post 10% of her 150,000 bail.
Procopio was crossing Route 36 at the intersection of Ave D at approximately 8:25 pm when she was stuck by a light grey compact car traveling west. The car fled the scene before police arrived. Marissa was transported via Medivac helicopter to Jersey Shore Medical Center in Neptune. She succumbed to her injuries at 3:46 p.m. on July 9.
In a statement issued by her attorney, Peter O’Mara, following her guilty plea, Marletta said that Procopio crossed Route 36 against a red light and with “a gaited walk and, in the middle of crossing the highway’s westbound lanes, she began running and after running a few steps, was struck by right passenger side of vehicle.”
The statement said that state experts determined by the use of videos that Marletta was traveling at 41 mph in a 50 mph zone and was traveling through a green light at the time of the accident.
There was no evidence or testimony of drug or alcohol use during the Court proceedings. Yet the statement O’Mara distributed said that blood and toxicology test Marletta submitted to hours after accident were inconclusive.
Procopio’s mother, Danielle Procopio, told MMM that authorities told her that Marletta’s blood and toxicology results indicated that she was under the influence of cocaine and alcohol at the time she was tested, but that the tests could not prove that Marletta was under the influence at the time of the accident.
Outside the courtroom this morning, Danielle Procopio told the crowd of reporters and spectators surrounding her that “the electric chair wouldn’t be good enough, how’s that?” In response to whether she felt vindicated or would have preferred to go through a fourth court proceeding and a trial, the grieving mother relented slightly, and said, “what good would that do? She probably would have served half the time and then gone free to enjoy her family and her life. Seven years isn’t enough.”
Danielle Procopio said she believes that Marletta fled the scene because she knew she was intoxicated, not because her insurance had lapsed.
“Toni Marletta is not a murderer, as she has been called,” the statement distributed by O’Mara said. “nor did she get away with homicide. This matter was thoroughly investigated by top experts in all fields of analysis from traffic reconstruction experts to toxicological forensic scientists. The evidence was presented by our highly regarded County Prosecutor’s Office to a 24 person Grand Jury, and these were the charges the evidence supported.”